Best Practices

Take a look at these things you should DO and things you should Avoid!

  • DO: Join the PAO discussion group

"CAP Public Affairs" -- A bunch of PAOs from all over Civil Air Patrol have really great discussions in this Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/4305419935/. The National Social Media PAO is known to hang out and give advice. Come join us!

  • DO: Use Facebook Event Co-Hosting for Activities

If you are hosting an activity that can be advertised to multiple squadrons, please let us know! The WAWG/PAO has the ability to "co-host" your Facebook event, revealing it to another squadron or activity's page. For instance, the Olympic Air Show Event is hosted by WAWG since it is a Wing activity. Since all squadrons are invited, all squadrons have been added as a host and can see the Event on their page

  • Avoid linking or using Facebook Groups with your Unit page

  • Linking a group to a page is a new way for Facebook to allow businesses to officially show related discussion groups and build a community around the business. The national CAP page has linked the groups that it has control over to the national page. Since units below are not recommended to have groups represent their unit, there is not a reason to link a group to a unit page.

  • Avoid using *first-person voice or jargon

Example: "Today I attended an AE activity with the 446th at JBLM!"

Unfortunately, very few people know who "I" is when they read this, and it will only make sense to a very limited number of people. Facebook pages are meant for public outreach, so this is your opportunity to inform! You would not write in first-person or use jargon in a press release, so it's good practice for your public social media voice as well.

Try the following: "Fifteen members of Example Composite Squadron attended an aersopace education activity and C-17 tour with members of the 446th Airlift Wing, United States Air Force Reserve at Joint Base Lewis-McChord today."

*The exception to this rule should be limited to communications such as:

    • A note from the Unit Commander thanking personnel for their outstanding service during his command, which would be signed by that commander.

    • A post from the "royal we," which assumes the identity of the unit itself, such as: "We at Example Composite Squadron are excited to announce a new location for our weekly meetings! Please join us Monday, July 10, 2017 for an Open House at ... blah blah blah."

  • Avoid posting internal squadron business to Facebook

While it may be helpful to also post an "internal" announcement for members about an activity on your Facebook page, consider that the majority of your page followers may not (yet) be CAP members, and these posts will not help to bridge that gap.

Posts like, "Don't forget to wear civvies tonight!" or "Our Saturday activity was canceled. PM me for details!" will leave most audience-members in the dark. These messages will be more reliably received via email to members, so social media should not be your primary communication source. In the case of the second example, posting internal messages about an activity cancelation may only harm your page image overall...especially if you cancel a lot of activities or meetings.

It may make sense to post here if a weekly meeting or public event is canceled, since members of the public may attend those. In that case, phrase the cancelation message so it is addressed to the general public at large.

  • Avoid shares from personal accounts

You've attended an activity. You get home, upload the photos to your personal Facebook account, then share the post to your unit page. Should you have? The short answer is no. Read on to see why:

1. If you some day delete your personal account, the post, photos, and any shares will disappear from Facebook.

2. If someone visits your unit albums, those photos will also not be there.

3. When other members share the post while viewing the unit page, YOUR personal post is actually shared by that member, not the unit's post. It's important to make sure your audience is driven to your unit page (that holds all your unit info). I.E. People sharing your personal post will not be helpful in gaining page exposure for the unit.

4. Assume these photos were shared from another member or individual's page, and it turns out that in their free time they post controversial stuff on their own page. If we share one of their posts, we would be driving traffic to that person's page. It's best to share content from official pages that have relevant content for our audience.